Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gardening: The benefits (for a plant) of being first in line

So, I've often wondered why one plant thrives, and another, perhaps only a few feet away, experiencing the same care and light and soil and fertilizer, languishes or flat-out dies.

Today, a couple of hours spent with lettuce seedlings gave me part of the answer: The plants that I put in first are the ones that are destined to do well.

When I start planting, I do it right. I gently and apologetically loosen the rootbound. I pull away the mulch. I dig good generous holes. I space the plants in nice little triangular patterns. I get the hole depth just right, test-fitting and adding or removing soil. I firm the plant down and pull the mulch back, up to but not quite touching the stem. I water every few new plants in with a soft mist.

As the planting progresses, mulch preservation is abandoned. Holes are less carefully tailored. Correction of the rootbound is less a massage than an attack. Spacing is adjusted to cram in those last few plants.  Watering is delayed and then emphatic.

The shift today was sudden. I lovingly pulled the mulch over the previous perfectly-planted lettuce, dug the hole for the new one, and placed the tiny seedling in the hole. It was half a centimeter too high. I... encouraged it to fit.

That was, of course the moment when I should have stopped planting. I know this. But my enthusiasm for getting all the plants in the ground seems to last longer than my enthusiasm for getting them in right. I finished planting all the lettuce.

So if I'm wondering, in a few weeks, why the Salad Bowl lettuce isn't doing as well as the Speckled Baby Red? Remind me.

Image: By TalkingITGlobal. Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rambling: Rambling

So, it's been a while.

I haven't really done a lot to write about. I haven't fried any chickens. I haven't planted any plants. I haven't written any fiction. I haven't taken any great photographs. I haven't seen any movies that drove me to post. I read some books, but I just logged those into my 100+ post.

I wore some perfume, but I talked about that on the Other Blog. I did some decluttering, but I talked about that over on the Other Other Blog. I read a book that made me think about my wardrobe and becoming the sort of person that pays at least a little bit of attention to how I dress, but that seemed go along with perfume, so I posted it over there.

I have gawked at the garden. Stuff is blooming. Some of it smells good. So I may return with photos or rambling about that.

So, well, today I'm just dropping by to say hello.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Links: Declutter Posts

My recent posting inspiration is turning toward posts on Declutter Of The Day. So I thought I'd point that way to the posts from yesterday and today.

Image: By Holly. Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rambling: Weekend!

A work-free weekend has arrived. And I might even get some gardening done.

Or I might just eat chicken.

Image: By CalistaZ. Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Scenes from Gardens Past: Irises 2007

Photo of iris foliage and creeping phlox in bloom.

We have a lot of irises. They were growing all over the yard when we bought the house, and Himself is very fond of them, and I like them myself.

The problem with irises is the amount of space that they occupy, the short flowering period, and the plain brown dirt that generally surrounds them. In 2007, we solved this problem with hot-pink perennial creeping phlox. Apparently I didn't like it, because it's been replaced with creeping thyme, but looking at this picture, I can't imagine what I had against it.

Photo: Mine

Monday, May 3, 2010

Books: The unexpectedly feminist Mousewife

The Mousewife was written in 1967. It's a children's book, a fraction longer than a picture book, that took me eight minutes to read. I'm counting it toward my 100+ books anyway, because it's the first book in several weeks that's driven me to actually post any thoughts.

I was startled by it, because I expected something from this period to be cute and cuddly and describe the happy mousewife piling up corn for her mousebabies, and probably worrying about a cat or a ferret or something. But I know Rumer Godden; I should have known to expect more than that.

Because that's not the plot. That is, the mousebabies and the food are there, but this mousewife longs for something more than her usual existence, where "there are so many children and crumbs and bits of fluff to think of." Her husband disapproves; he tells her, "I think about cheese. Why don't you think about cheese?" He bites her on the ear for venturing too far from the mouse hole, but she ventures all the same.

If I tell you any more, I'll have told you the whole plot - it is, after all, a picture book. It's a lovely little book, with a more ambitious, less cuddly, message than I expected.

Image: By Madhur d'Silva. Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Books: Children's Books Continued

I love children's books. In the past few days, I've been collecting them like squirrel nuts. In addition to those listed in my recent post, I've added:
  • The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor. This is written the "true story" of Alice and her exile from Wonderland.
  • Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, by R.L. LaFevers. The adventures of an eleven year old that one summary describes as a combination of Nancy Drew and Indiana Jones. It was on the "staff picks" shelf at my local bookstore.
Anyone have any others to suggest?

Image: By John McIntosh. Wikimedia Commons.